“I’m Paul Barlow, and this is my daughter Jo.”

“Malone.”

“You got a first name?”

“Yeah.”

Prom Night III: The Last Kiss

PROM NIGHT III: THE LAST KISS is the only PROM NIGHT movie to directly follow up on the previous one. It opens on the grave of Mary Lou Maloney, who we see is now in Hell, where chained up dead girls in underwear and torn stockings do a kick line barefoot on burning-hot bricks to the tune of ’50s rock ‘n roll saxophone and moans of agony. But somehow Mary Lou (now played by Courtney Taylor, COVER ME, CAMP BLOOD) got a hold of a nail file, and when she manages to file through her chain she explodes out of her grave and EVIL-DEAD-cams right back to the school, where she manifests a working jukebox to lure in the night janitor (Terry Doyle, NIGHT FRIEND) and ask him to dance with her. She knows him by name because he was one of the many boys she dated in high school.

It’s a depressing commentary on small town life that this poor guy would still be living in the same god damn town where he grew up, mopping floors, and so mush-brained that when a mysterious sexy trespasser calls him by the same pet name as the girl he dated in high school who was burned alive in front of his eyes and recently came back from the dead, killed several students and burned down the gym during the prom he smiles nostalgically and says “I haven’t heard that name in 30 years. There was a girl–“

If these are really the stars of the movie they look really different on the poster

Anyway the evil jukebox electrocutes him and his pacemaker explodes and she says “Mother always said I’d be a heartbreaker,” which in my opinion is pretty good for a Freddy style one-liner. I don’t really go for Freddy style one-liners, but I can respect that this one combines a novel death, a pun, and a summation of the concept of an evil killer who’s a girl from the ’50s who gets around.

The more comedic feel continues in the next scene, a dedication assembly for Hamilton High’s rebuilt-after-the-events-of-part-II gym. The school band plays “La Bamba” and the principal (Roger Dunn, voice of Charles Deetz, Beetlejuice cartoon) accidentally cuts his own finger off along with the ribbon.

This is also the only PROM NIGHT to make the rookie mistake of having a dude as the main character. Alex (Tim Conlon, STARSHIP TROOPERS 2: HERO OF THE FEDERATION) is in kind of a funk because he wants to go to medical school but he’s told his grades are too average. He has a whole speech about how he’s exactly the national average height and shoe size. Meanwhile his girlfriend Sarah (Cyndy Preston, PIN, IF LOOKS COULD KILL, CARRIE remake) is mad at him because she thinks he’s gonna ditch her for the summer to go on a trip with his best bro Shane (David Stratton, THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU’RE DEAD).

But after Alex goes into the school late at night for some reason he starts seeing visions of Mary Lou, and she becomes his girlfriend/guardian angel. She makes him jump high (?) in football, saves him from bullying by making an announcement over the intercom (“Andrew Douglas, report to the office please. Your mother brought your lunch”), does his homework for him, and also starts murdering his teachers and counselor and stuff. All he has to do is bury the bodies in the football field. I guess they never replaced that night custodian she killed, because nobody’s ever there to see Alex digging up the field or fucking Mary Lou (in her underwear) in the school.

This is another one in the ELM-STREET-sequel tradition, stringing together a series of gimmicky kills themed around Mary Lou’s time period or the high school setting. She makes an old fashioned ice cream shop appear in Mr. Walker’s class (“Young lady, I don’t know what you think you’re doing here, but let me assure you, you’re in alot of trouble”) and then stabs both his hands with ice cream cones and mangles him with a mixer. She throws a football at a guy and it turns into a screw in a PHANTASM-like side-view and impales him on the goal post.

His family seem weirdly impressed with his finally-above-average achievements. When he does well on a test they throw him a surprise party. When he gets a good grade they buy him a motorcycle complete with leather jacket. Then he lays on his bed in an undershirt and sunglasses playing saxophone. Which I guess explains why Mary Lou is into him. (Though I guess she’s into everybody.) Anyway he tries to break up with her and she becomes very possessive. (Pun.) She even says “If I can’t have you nobody can.”

Of course the climax has to be at the prom. Mary Lou tries to attack Sarah, but Alex offers himself to her as a sacrifice, and they all get sucked down into Hell. So I take it back – the climax takes place at the Hell prom from the opening. Sarah thankfully takes over as the hero and tries to save the day. I’m not sure why her blowtorch kills people in Hell, though. That’s kind of counter-intuitive.

By the way, there’s a part where he needs a can of cola for something, and what he uses is this thing called “The” Cola – For the Connoisseur. Let it be known that I am the connoisseur. I would like to try “The” Cola please.

THE LAST KISS is in contention with II for the most fun and clever of the series. It actually has intentionally funny dialogue. After Alex breaks up with Mary Lou for killing too many people she glows purple and disappears and blows him over with a blast of supernatural wind and he says “Women!” And there are plenty of quirky character details, like how Sarah angrily bakes cookies to deal with stress as a setup for using “I don’t get mad, I bake” as an action one-liner. There’s a scene where Alex calls his parents on a pay phone and we hear comical gibberish from the other end, sorta like when adults talk in Peanuts.

A strange touch is that there are these announcements over the intercom that are dumb jokes: “Attention students: today is Mrs. Melanoma’s last day as cafeteria cook, she’s returning to her old job at the Hamilton Toxic Waste Dump, so let’s all wish her good luck.” It seems like maybe they thought they were going to be barely audible in the background, but they end up being the focus of the scenes and fall completely flat. I felt similarly about the character of Leonard (Jeremy Ratchford, SHORT CIRCUIT 2, UNFORGIVEN) who is such a stereotypical nerd that he wears a pocket protector. We know the movie can do better than that, because it has.

There are other things that are just odd. Like, I’m not sure if I get why this discussion with his guidance counselor (Lesley Kelly, GRAVEYARD SHIFT I-II) is staged with a cactus awkwardly blocking the shot, though I think it has something to do with penises.

And there’s a weird thing about how jock asshole Andrew (Dylan Neal, Dawson’s Creek, Arrow, FIFTY SHADES FREED) is trying to change “the rule that says the football team has to let anybody on who wants to play” because he doesn’t want “dweebs, dorks and geeks” on the team (specifically Alex, because he played better than him with his Mary Lou powers). Until this scene I had no idea Alex was supposed to be a nerd, because he looks like Colin Farrell. I mean, Conlon was also in REVENGE OF THE NERDS III: THE NEXT GENERATION, and he didn’t play one of the nerds.

Andrew suggests having “trials” to get on the team, and Sarah acts like it’s a ludicrous idea. Are there really schools where the football team doesn’t have try outs? Is this a Canadian thing?

Well, no. If you’ve been reading my reviews you know that I consider the central mystery of the PROM NIGHT series to be whether they take place in the U.S. even though they’re filmed in Canada. I assumed part 1 did, because the school was named after founding father Alexander Hamilton. It’s debatable whether part II is supposed to be the same school, since it’s shortened to Hamilton High School and filmed in a different location, but it’s definitely in Canada because a bribe attempt is made with Canadian currency. But the plot thickens: Part III explicitly takes place at the same school (and is filmed on the same location) as II, but there is an American flag on the wall of the school, which Alex accidentally pulls down when he falls down some stairs, and then he makes out with Mary Lou on top of it and the Star Spangled Banner plays.

Other possible supporting evidence: the stars and stripes shirt worn by the old dude with the liberty spikes on the student council.

Also, “She’s Gonna Freak You,” the surprisingly good theme song rap by Maestro Fresh-Wes, which is used in a preparing-for-battle montage and on the end credits, warns you about the really hot “American woman” who you can’t resist who’s gonna fuck you over.

Still no disco in this one. Composer Paul Zaza does return, though. The prom features a live band called Chaos. This time Brock Simpson (young Nick in part 1, Josh in Part II) plays a cop named Larry. Tradition is important.

I saw this on a double feature DVD with part IV, and I learned from Wikipedia that it’s a TV edit. “Alternate camera angles and takes are utilized to tone down violence, language and nudity, along with dubbed or muted profanity.” That does seem accurate. If you want the original version I guess you gotta go with VHS or import DVDs.

This one is credited as directed by Ron Oliver and Peter Simpson – that’s the writer of part II and the producer of all of the PROM NIGHTs, respectively.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 31st, 2018 at 10:58 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

22 Responses to “Prom Night III: The Last Kiss”

  1. I thought I’d seen this one … but by the sounds of it, no? Must have been Part IV.

    “The” Cola is a real thing, not a Repo Man-ish prop — it was the house brand for Loblaws supermarkets in Canada, part of a whole line of goods called “President’s Choice.” I remember hearing that they’d tried to move into the American market. Since “president” has different connotations down there, they restyled themselves as “American Choice.” So if you’ve ever had an American Choice Cola, that’d be the drink from Prom Night III.

  2. So, who came up with the word prom? I imagine it went something like this:

    “We need a new word for this dance to indicate it’s more special than other dances.”

    “How about prom?”

    “Sure, why not?”

    Does this really begin with a musical kick line in hell? I’ll have to see it for that alone.

  3. I don’t remember “The” Cola because we don’t have any Loblaws in Halifax, and would have been equally intrigued by that scene. We were one of the few test-market cities for apathertic-GenX soft drink OK Soda, though. It’s probably because Harper’s Bazar called us “the next Seattle” in 1993.

  4. Well, Sloan are hipper than Pearl Jam. That’s just self-evident.

  5. Fred – prom is short for promenade. Why they chose promenade, I have no idea.

    I was also going to ask if Vern was fucking with us about the kick line, but then as I read the entire review, I realized, no, he was not fucking with us.

  6. Immolation Joe

    May 31st, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    President’s Choice was sold at Fred Meyers supermarkets in the Seattle area around twenty years ago.

  7. Thanks Maggie.

    So the story of how promenade became the significant junior and senior dance while the earlier fall and winter dances had to settle for Formal, I guess we’ll never know.

  8. Those who produce cut-down TV edits for DVDs should join Mary Lou in Hell.

  9. No way Zombo, I love me some TV edits. Especially from back in the day like Halloween that added in deleted scenes.

  10. Immolation Joe

    June 1st, 2018 at 9:56 am

    Late Edit: That’s Fred Meyer, not “Meyers” (it just occurred to me). My family used to buy the box of President’s Choice to save money on off-brands. I remember it being pretty good but not spectacular in any way. Of course there was also OK Cola and another brand like that to appeal to my young and hip generation that won’t listen to no corporate stooge unless they pretend to not be a corporate stooge (this didn’t work). I can’t remember the name.

    Also… I’ve been reading and lurking maybe three years now. Great reviews (I just read The Reader the other day and it seems like a made up movie now, like something they would use in Tropic Thunder to spoof Oscar contenders. Don’t fuck Nazis, ever). Very informative and funny community too.

    More on topic, I was surprised that there was a Prom Night 3 and 4 until I saw the video cover in this review. That was one that caught my eye a lot as a teenager but I never picked it up and eventually forgot all about it. 2 was memorable just because of the name and cover of her in a prom dress, hanging out in a locker, and looking pretty fine.

  11. Probably my all time favorite Halloween costume was when I went as a murdered prom queen. I got a dress from a second hand shop, made a sash that said “Prom Queen” in glitter and bought a crappy, plastic tiara. I smeared my makeup all over my face and ratted my hair around the tiara. I tore the dress in a few spots and smeared my white gloves and dress with dirt and grime until I looked like I’d been tussled around. I liberally doused myself in fake blood. I tried applying a plastic wound that looked like my throat was slit, but it wouldn’t stick. It was awesome. I didn’t have to worry about messing up my hair or makeup and walked around bare foot. The only thing was, no one really got that I was just a generic massacred prom queen. They kept trying to make me be Carrie. There wasn’t *that* much fake blood.

  12. That’s far, Sternshein. My main issue is with the cuts made rather than the footage added. And the fact that the movies sometimes end up in the wrong aspect ratio…

  13. Have you seen the trailer for Jennifer Garner goes all death wish on Mexicans?

  14. A high school guy with a ghost girlfriend reminds me of the anime/manga Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, although in that one she’s a friendly ghost and not a Freddy esque killer.

  15. *takes deep sigh* yeah that’s what I thought too… though if PROM NIGHT 3 doesn’t have the same BS ending DUSK MAIDEN had then it might be better. I enjoyed DUSK MAIDEN when it was being a horror story not so much when it was being a teen romance story. A really frustrating series that I really want to like and I really like parts of it but it’s a case where the story they were concerned with telling is not what I found interesting about it. In fact it’s one of the only times I committed the cardinal sin of shitty fandom and felt my imaginary alt ending was better! So not only does it disappoint me on an artistic level, but a personal level as well!

    -sorry I can’t be on topic with these guys. I watched the first PROM NIGHT last year with the intention of watching the rest and it was so boring and I had just finished the HELLRAISER sequels so I quite while I was already behind.

  16. lol you thought of it too? I’m pleasantly surprised I’m not alone in that.

    There’s also a just released manga and soon to be anime called Yuuna and The Haunted Hot Spring that’s another romance story where the love interest is a female ghost, though I don’t think that one has anything to do with high school.

    Also, are you referring to the ending of the Dusk Maiden anime or manga? Because I’ve only seen the anime and strangely I can’t remember how it ends (it’s been a while) though I do remember liking the series overall.

  17. I’m getting a Return of the Living Dead III or My Boyfriend’s Back kinda vibe from the description. Might check this one out if I can find an unedited version. Anyone know if it’s avail on torrents or streaming services? Don’t think I can afford an import dvd.

  18. Tawdy: I just checked justwatch.com and it seems there must be some weird rights thing as that is the only one not available for legal streaming. 1 & 2 are on Shudder/VRV and 4 is on Amazon Prime. Not totally legal but someone uploaded the uncut version on YouTube.

    *Deep sigh of regret*

    Ok now, Griff…:

    *First up, sorry to everyone for being ‘one of those’ talking about freakin’ anime and manga in a completely unrelated place, just skip this part*

    I was referring to the end of the cartoon but the comic’s ending was all that significantly different. I’ve been having a chat with Stern on the usual crappiness of ‘downer’ endings to horror tales but that is one I think would benefit. I think it should have ended with him being pushed down the stairs, dying, and her wiping her memories again and the cycle continues. I mean how is the ending a happy one (either cartoon or comic)? So this kid who’s like what, 15/16 (it’s Japanese comic/cartoon so he may even be 14)? So he needs to not only pledge his undying loyalty and love to this dead girl who can’t leave the school premises and now her only hope is waiting x-number of years for this guy to grow old and die so she can pass on? So he can never leave that town or school probably. What a great ending. Love is eternal. If they wanted a happy end they should have gone with him successfully helping her pass-on. Not her coming back to haunt him and the place and declare her undying love and they both twiddle their damned thumbs until he eventually dies! It’s shit like that makes me wonder why I keep trying to watch and live this horse-shit so much, even Japanese toons and comics I do like end up having a major flaw (I absolutely love LITTLE WITCH ACADEMIA but shit does that overplot in the second half of ‘season 2′ piss me off). What I’m sayin’ Griff is that DUSK MAIDEN is no R.O.D. amiright?!

    *End rant*

  19. GeoffryJar

    What’s VRV?

  20. VRV is a streaming service that links to like ten other ones, Shudder being one of them. That’s how I got Shudder and I really like the service so I do my part to spread the word of them when I can.

  21. geoffreyjar – I’m impressed you remember that I like R.O.D so much, especially since I don’t remember mentioning it on here before.

  22. Yeah I don’t know about this one (currently the only of the OG Prom Night series NOT on Amazon Prime, but readily available on a major video website). It’s got a few laughs and it doubles down on the camp and wackiness of Part II (which I heard described as Batshit Crazy the other day, even though Part III is way, way more batshit crazy). But the whole thing just feels too cheap, too half-assed to be really charming. I’ve never seen an actual Troma movie but I’m guessing they’re kinda like this, maybe I just need to be in the right mood. Oh also, the new Mary Lou is no comparison to the one from Part II (in my opinion).

    One thing I actually did really like is how *SPOILER* the girlfriend just follows them into hell at the end and fistfights Mary Lou for the guy. She’s got no special powers, no master plan, she literally fights a demon hand-to-hand on her own turf to save her man, and beats her. It’s kind of an awesome, even moving ending (immediately ruined by the next scene, but oh well).

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